Thursday, April 21, 2011

Enjoyable walk with reflection time

I am so glad I made the decision to make the trip to Seattle to visit Kristen and Loren.  It's been absolutely wonderful.  There is nothing like being in the presence of your best childhood friend who is not only a delight to be around, but is also a gracious host.

For some reason I suffer from insomnia this pregnancy so I woke up about 5 AM despite the fact that I went to sleep after midnight last night reading the book 29 Gifts I mentioned here.  I woke up this morning to call my mother in law who was watching Jude today to make sure she had everything she needed for the day and again started reading the book. It is so great and I am already almost done.

After I put the book down I putzed around and had a banana and a bowl of shredded wheat (my fave) from their collection of over 25 cereals. No, I am not exaggerating.  I counted.  Next, I used my phone to locate a bakery within walking distance and decided I would take a walk there later after the forecast of rain cleared up. Then I watched a little bit of HGTV, another fave of mine and decided I would take a nap and a bath to follow.  It was an ideal morning filled with luxuries I am rarely able to enjoy.  It felt wonderful.

I got around I decided to navigate my way to the bakery.  Luckily with the help of my phone I didn't get lost.  I ordered a turkey breast and avocado sandwich with green tea and a piece of cake named the Frazier.  I also purchased three pastries to go for us to share and enjoy later.

During my lunch I read more of my book and then decided I would take a walk along the lake and read some more on the dock.  It was enjoyable and gave me time to reflect on all the blessings in my life.  After making a mental list I felt so complete and content with life.  I really do "have it all" or at least all I ever wanted or needed.

From reading this book it has kinda inspired me to maybe take on the challenge of the whole 29 gifts in 29 days concept.  It is intriguing to me and I wonder how I will be changed by the experience.
I have included pics below of my experience at the bakery today and some sights from my walk.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Books for travel

At this moment I am sitting at Detroit Metro Airport waiting to catch my second flight to Seattle.  I am going to visit my best friend Kristen.  This trip is long overdue.  I have been wanting to visit and have talked about it forever...and I am finally doing it.  I talked to Clint about it awhile back anddetermined that if I don't go now....I may never go, especially with having two kids. 

The original plan was that Jude and Clint would come in the airport and see me off but since it was raining and Jude fell back asleep, I told Clint to just drop me off at the door.  As soon as I kissed both of my boys and shut the door, I began to cry.  I have only stayed one night away from Jude since his birth and that time I was only about an hour away. This is going to be tough, but I know I need this.
About a half hour later Clint called and said that Jude wanted to talk to me.  In his beautiful , sleepy voice he said "mommy ride airplane today?"  I said "yes" and explained to him how his day was going to go.  He responded by telling me "no biting or hitting, and play nicely" which is what I discussed with him the night before.  What a joy he is.  I miss him dearly.

Yesterday I went to the library in the afternoon and chose two books for my trip only to be denied being able to check them out.  I had a book out that was severly overdue and unless I paid about $18 for it or returned it, I would biy br able to check any more out.  I knew I had the book somewhere but couldn't put my finger on where.  I went home and found it within 3 minutes maybe.  Luckily, the library doesn't close til 8 PM on Tuesdays so when Clint arrived home from track practice I went to retrieve the books.

Here is what I chose:
The first one is called "A Different Kind of Perfect" by Cindy Dowling, Neil Nicoll and Bernadette Thomas.  It contains writings by parents on raising children with special needs. 
I started it on my shirt flight from Flint to Detroit.  The preface was intriguing as it explained how the book was set up.  The chapters are broken up into sections such ad Grief, Denial, Acceptance, Spirituality and Laughter.

The second one is called "29 Gifts, How a month of giving can change your life" by Cami Walker.  I read the inside cover at the library and was instantly attracted to it.  It is about a woman who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and couldn't escape the negative thoughts that plagued her.  She was told by an African medicine woman who was her friend to give away 29 gifts in 29 days.  It tells of how this 'prescription' changed her. 

I am so excited to read this one.  It may be just what I need to get my mind off the negative thoughts about Gwenyth's possible diagnosis which is what my mind seems to be consumed with a majority of the time.

As my trip to Seattle continues, I will keep you all updated about how it is going.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Chicken Fajita Bento

I have mentioned before how much I love my bento and have told you how I used it here and here.  Well I recently used it to make a delicious lunch of Chicken Fajitas for Clint, Jude, Clint's mom, Patti, his step-dad, Chuck and myself.  Here is what our yummy meal looked like.

The top contained the seasoned chicken/ peppers/onion mixture.  The second layer contained toppings for the fajitas and the third was a Pistachio dessert which I have plans to blog about at a later date.  I just took the package of tortillas seperately. 

How convenient is this bento? Imagine having to carry all these items on their own.  I cannot stress to you how wonderful it is.  I encourage you to get one before summer.  They are so great for days out.

Lasagna Rollups

I love this recipe because I usually have all the ingredients on hand besides the ricotta so it's an economical, delicious dinner.  For some reason I find making lasagna in this fashion is much easier then the traditional way with layers.  I find that when I do the layers I never have enough ricotta to spread it out enough to cover the entire dish.  Also, this makes for better portion control as you cannot just cut off a bigger have to take a roll.

I am including a meatless version because I made this on a Friday during Lent.  I would usually add ground beef, ground turkey or some kind of sausage.  

I don't measure when I make this so I am giving approximations.  You really cannot screw it up.

Well here is what you need:
(12) lasagna noodles cooked according to pkg. directions
(1) jar of your favorite pasta sauce
(1) 30 oz container of Ricotta cheese
(1) cup of grated Parmesan Cheese
(1.5) cups of shredded Mozarella Cheese
(2) eggs
(1) tsp. of Italian seasoning
(1) tbs. of olive oil
(1/2) cup of diced onions
(1) tsp. of minced garlic
(1.5) cups of steamed broccoli, chopped
(2) cups of fresh mushrooms, diced

Preheat oven to 350.

To begin, spread (1) cup of the pasta sauce in the bottom of a baking dish.  Then, mix the Ricotta, Parmesan and Mozarella cheeses in a mixing bowl along with the Italian seasoning and eggs.  Next, heat a pan and add the oil. Saute the garlic and onions.  Add the mushrooms and steamed broccoli and cook for a few minutes until the mushrooms are tender and the flavors are combined.  Add the contents of the pan to the cheese.mixture and stir.  Lay a cooked noodle flat and spread the mixture along one side.  Roll then noodle until you reach the end.  Place the rollup seam side down in the making dish.  Repeat until you run out of noodles.   Top each roll evenly with the remaining sauce.  Bake for 45 minutes. 

Voila!  You're done.  This is a great make ahead or freezer meal.

Try this out and let me know how you like it!

Here is the mixture spread on the noodle.
Here it is all rolled up.

Ready for baking.  I always make an extra smaller dish to give away. 
This time, my father in law, Ron and Faye, Clint's wonderful step-mom were the receivers.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


I have joked that the baby we are expecting is going to be huge because her kicks are so hard and when she moves, she moves with a lot of force.  Therefore, I thought for sure she must be much larger than Jude.  Jude was a mover and kicker, but he started about a month and a half after his sister and he wasn't as constant.

I had a doctors appointment today and I asked out of curiosity whether this baby is measuring larger than Jude did because I swear she must be huge and about ready to come out.  He said it was quite the opposite and that she is measuring quite small.  My immediate question was "could that be related to the possible Down's Syndrome?"  He said no, but he wants to see what is going on when he gets my glucose results back tomorrow and see with an ultrasound why this may be.  If I don't have the Diabetes this time, I assume that could be the explanation since babies of mothers with Gestational Diabetes tend to be larger.  Jude was 7 lbs 13.6 oz.  A pretty decent sizes baby I'd say.

Now with this on my has been my new constant thought.  Of course I have done my searches online and I instantly regretted it as I do every time I hear that there is a possibility of something being abnormal or wrong.  They always have the worse case scenarios published...and I look at those ones much more closely than I do others.

Please God do not let anything else be "possibly" wrong.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Maybe, maybe not.

As the due date draws nearer, I am more consumed by the what if that is still in the back of my mind.  I say back of my mind....which is where it was (honestly) for quite some time, but as it gets closer I find the thoughts and worries creeping closer and closer to the front of it.  I keep finding myself thinking about it more and more and how it will change the dynamic of our family if our sweet Gwenyth does in fact have Down's Syndrome.  I have been trying to prepare myself...but how do you really do it? 

I have always been a believer of signs and I feel like something is telling me to prepare myself.  I don't know whether it is just because I know that the possibility is there that I am noticing it more or if its just that I have an increased awareness but I feel like I am coming into contact or being presented with children with Down's more and more. 

For example, while in Florida at a resort I saw a family at the pool who had an infant with Down's Syndrome.  The family looked as though they were having a wonderful time as their beautiful little girl watched the older kids in the pool happily from her stroller.  I have to shamefully admit that my first reaction to seeing the little girl and her family was compassion and pity.  I felt so bad that the little girl wasn't healthy for her own sake and for what it meant for her family.  Seconds later, I thought to myself "how is this any different than any other family?"  They were having what seemed like a normal, fun filled family vacation like every other family that was there.  I told myself.....I can do this.

When we got home, I was watching a TV program featuring Albert Pujols who is a famous baseball player who does amazing work on and off the field.  He works very closely with children with Down's Syndrome.  Each year he organizes a prom for kids with Down's.  It told his story and his connection to the syndrome.  His wife's daughter, whom he considers his own has Down's.  It was obvious that he absolutely adored his little girl and was passionate about providing these children with an event that to healthy kids would be considered normal.  As soon as I saw the program was about Down's Syndrome, my heart dropped a little.  I thought...this must be another sign.  This must mean God is trying to prepare me, right?  I paused the program about three minutes into it and called Clint into the room.  I didn't disclose my fears or thoughts.  I just rewound the program to the beginning and said let's watch this.  It was inspiring.  It put me more at ease again.  I thought...there are so many opportunities and experiences out there that I need to explore.

Lastly, today I received my monthly Parents magazine.  On the back cover is a precious little girl featured in the Pampers ad that obviously has Down's Syndrome.  Was this another sign? 

I may be crazy.  But this is just how my mind works.  It is something I sometimes wish I could change about myself....but I can't.  I am wired to look very very very deep into things.  I analyze every aspect of every situation til I am worn out.  I do it til my brain cannot take anymore til it finds something else to consume itself with.  Do the signs I am noticing mean anything?  Maybe, maybe not.

So in putting my thoughts down...what have I learned?  I learned that regardless of what the outcome is, we can truly give our child the most normal childhood possible.  I know myself and I know my husband well enough that we will take on whatever we are dealt head on and do it to the best of our ability.  Am I saying that I am not afraid or that I am not constantly hoping that everything will be alright?  No.  Obviously, every parent wants the most healthy child possible.  I just know that we will make it.  No matter what....we can do anything together.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Last minute unlike me.

Last Saturday during the craziness of preparing for Jude's 2nd Birthday party which was the following day, we decided that we were going to Florida for a family vacation and we would be leaving directly after the party!  It was very spur of the moment and unplanned.  If you know me at all, you will know that this is not like me at all especially when it comes to something such as a vacation.  I am a planner in every way, so when Clint asked if I was interested, I was a bit hesitant at first.  Even though I was already creating my extensive to do list in my mind, I figured, why not?  We agreed that it would be a great last trip with Jude before the arrival of his baby sister and it wasn't likely we would get he opportunity to vacation at such a little cost in the near future.  The family we went with already had a place to stay and cost us nothing, that was a major bonus.  Also, we were splitting gas, so that was a huge cost savings as well.  We couldn't see any cons in the situation, only pros.  So we went and enjoyed every moment.  We had valuable family time which is essential with preparations for football season looming around the corner.  We spent time having meals together, going to CoCoa Beach, walking around Downtown Disney, going for walks, spending time with other families we knew that were vacationing nearby, exploring nature, hanging out at the pool and simply talking.  Also, Clint was able to have guy time by going out with his friends, golfing and disc golfing as well.  It was a truly a memorable time.  Weather was gorgeous the entire time as well. 

Speaking of the weather, I experienced my very first sunburn during this trip.  I was told my skin would be more sensitive during pregnancy but silly me thought that meant only my belly.  I was wrong.  I put a lot of care into lathering my belly with sunscreen, ignoring the rest of me.  Before I knew it, my back was burnt.  It was the worst thing ever.  I now feel bad for those who burn regularly.  I was such a baby about the entire situation.  I whined continuously throughout the night and woke up three times to apply aloe.  Luckily, the next day it was all better and no longer painful.  I hope to never experience that again.

I would like to share a few of the pics from our trip.  Jude was adorable the entire time and every time I told him to smile or pulled out the camera, he flashed me the most gorgeous smile.
 Jude's tusha was hanging out when daddy threw him up.
 Here's that gorgeous smile I was telling you about.
 Playground at the resort.
 Two of the most handsome boys I know.
 Jude was not at all a fan of this guy.
 He loves "cycles".
 Family pic.
 Tiny tot craft time at the resort.  Jude painted a snake.
 He liked to finger-paint it.
 He REALLY loved this area.  Played in it for hours.
 What a happy boy.
 He looks like such a big boy here.
 Daddy and Jude going down the slide.
 Looks so tough.
 He looks like he is trying out for the Baywatch cast.
 What a beauty.
 He loved everything about the ocean, except the taste.
 Happy Boy.
 The love of my life.
 Mommy and Jude.
 Another family pic.
 We spotted two of these on our trip.
 And lots of these.